French model applied for Chiang Mai smart city

French model applied for Chiang Mai smart city

From left; H.E.Gilles Garachon (left), French Ambassador to Thailand, Pichet Durongkaveroj, Digital Economy and Society Minister and Mr Pun-Arj.
From left; H.E.Gilles Garachon (left), French Ambassador to Thailand, Pichet Durongkaveroj, Digital Economy and Society Minister and Mr Pun-Arj.

The National Innovation Agency (NIA) is using a French model to help build Chiang Mai Innovation District, aiming to attract an international startup community.

French tech firms are also interested in investing more in Smart City projects and the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) in Thailand.

"NIA wants to apply a model from France called Paris & Co in Chiang Mai to build an Innovation District," said Pun-Arj Chairatana, NIA director.

Speaking after the Thai-French Smart City Forum, he said Paris & Co is the Paris' economic development and innovation agency for attracting foreign startups.

NIA plans to set up Chiang Mai & Co in Thapae Road by end of this year under collaboration with the Industry Ministry will renovate an office space to base the project from, and the Science and Technology Ministry will allot financial backing.

Chiang Mai & Co will operate as a launching and landing path for digital nomads for access to smart visas and connecting with local startup communities and local universities to build a startup ecosystem in Chiang Mai.

This will make Chiang Mai an Innovation District for building tech-based entrepreneurs Mr Pun-Arj said.

Chiang Mai is one of the top destinations for digital nomads, home to more than 10,000.

Mr Pun-Arj said the project is also working with Dassault Systems, which specialises in 3D design city development, to help NIA design Innovation District.

Dassault also transferred city design plans for Chiang Mai Innovation Laboratory for three local universities -- Chiang Mai University, Maejoe University and Rajamangala University of Technology.

NIA is also in discussions with Airbus to make an aero-tech accelerator in the EEC.

Lena Ng, chief investment officer of Amata Corporation Plc, said Amata has 6,100 rai in Chon Buri for Amata Smart City, aimed at attracting high-tech firms in S-curve sectors to invest in Amata.

There are several cities that have announced collaborations with Amata so far -- Yokohama in Japan, Nanjing in China, Taipei, Inchon in South Korea and Hong Kong.

France is a prospective investor in aerospace.

"In each country zone, Amata will have joint ventures with land developers from those countries to connect private firms," said Ms Ng.

There are six areas of the Smart City: mobility, energy, environment, aerospace city, innovation, community, and manufacturing and education.

Amata is in discussions with the Provincial Electricity Authority to collaborate on the smart grid in Amata Smart City.

"To continue from the prime minister's successful trade visit to France last week, the smart city shows France's interest in helping to design an EEC smart city in Sri Racha," said Pichet Durongkaveroj, the Digital Economy and Society Minister.

The EEC Policy Committee also assigned the DE Ministry the responsibility of building a digital park in Sri Racha.

The UN has also expressed interest in setting up a Space Affairs Bureau in Thailand.

Gilles Garachon, France's Ambassador to Thailand, said this forum will provide detailed knowledge from France's experience and perspective on smart cities.

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